New Brighton: The Case of the Missing Game Birds

In the 1800s, before New Brighton was transformed into a “Model Native Settlement” by relocating blacks from the inner city locations to this area, this stretch of land between the mouth of the Papenkuils River and the Fishwater Flats abutting the Swartkops River, was known for the New Brighton Hotel and the Outspan, both owned by Matthew Berry.

The awarding of shooting rights to this flat vacant expanse of land and the mystery of the missing game birds would have to be settled in court.

Main picture: A duck hunter in 1890

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Korsten – A Subtext for Freedom

Human nature seeks freedom and the best for themselves and their children. It is an innate urge. By now the dismal track record of politically motivated false choices should have been exposed as a chimera. So it was for Korsten. Instead of readily agreeing to their being relocated to the new “model township” of New Brighton, the black residents of the inner-city locations defied the authorities and moved to an unserviced area outside the municipal boundaries called Korsten.

Thus Korsten’s roots are nourished by the natural human desire for freedom.

Main picture: Elkana Street, a respectable area in Korsten where children play happily in the street

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Berry’s – Father and Sons

Father, John James or JJ, and sons, Matthew (baptised as Matthys Jacobus) and Richard John, were both peas from the same pod, entrepreneurs to the bone ever willing to take a gamble on a new business venture. In most instances, they were vindicated but when Matthew crossed swords with the Divisional Council over the Seaview Farm, it was an ill-judged move. 

Main picture: The Zwartkops Convict station showing the overseer’s cottage and the convicts’ quarters at the rear

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Early Black Settlements Part 3

By the 1890s, Port Elizabeth Port Elizabeth possessed four Locations: Strangers’ Location off Mount Road, Cooper’s Location off Albany Road, the Reservoir Location off Mount Road and Gubb’s Location in Mill Park. Despite immense pressure from white residents to relocate the residents to Locations further from white residential areas, this had never materialised mainly due to inertia and cost. 

Events after the turn of the century would ultimately witness the actualisation of these dreams and the clearing of the original western Locations. 

Main picture: Burning of huts in Stranger’s Location in 1903

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Early Black Settlements Part 1

These settlements were never called suburbs or townships but colloquially these residential areas were known as locations ab initio. What is less well known is that there were various black settlements in Port Elizabeth from its earliest days. Their inhabitants were generally Khoi but later came the amaMfengu after the British authorities granted them rights to live here in 1851.

Conspicuously absent from central Port Elizabeth is even fragmentary evidence of their location dwellings or artefacts. All that remains of these settlements are some footnotes to history. Ultimately these residents were relocated to Red Location and New Brighton in the early part of the 20th century.

This blog attempts to set that right.

Main picture: Part of Stranger’s Location at the top of the hill next to Russell Road with its beehive style huts

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